From the Philippine Star (Mar 20): Bayan: US has yet to pay damages over Tubbataha incident
More than a year after a US Navy ship ran aground in Tubbataha Reef, the US government has yet to pay the damages for the destruction of corals at the world heritage site, militant group Bayan said on Friday.
"The US Navy is a respondent to our Supreme Court petition regarding the damage wrought by the USS Guardian on the Tubbataha reef in January 17, 2013. More than a year since the incident, not a single cent has been paid. Not one soldier has been made accountable under Philippine law as the US officers merely got a slap on the wrist," Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes Jr. said.
Reyes said the situation is aggravated by the docking in Manila of the USS Blue Ridge, the command ship of the US 7th Fleet in the Pacific.
"In light of the US' continuing refusal to pay damages, every port call by US ships is an affront to our sovereignty. Every port call is an insult to our people. If the US can act with impunity in Tubbataha, we have every reason to be worried with the ongoing access negotiations which aim to bring more ships and troops in the country for a longer period of time," he added.
With this development, Reyes said their group will also oppose the new de facto basing agreement between the Philippine and US governments.
"The US 7th Fleet Commander tries to sweet talk Filipinos into accepting a one-sided access pact and into forgetting US violations of Philippine laws," Reyes said.